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Ridgeway Brewing Company - Bad Elf

Ridgeway Brewing Company - Bad Elf

Beer Club featured in U.S. & International Variety Beer Club International Beer Club



Alcohol by Volume:


Ridgeway Brewing Company - Bad Elf

  • ABV:

  • Serving Temperature:

    45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    English Pint Glass
Bad Elf is the first in a series of elfin-themed brews from the Ridgeway Brewing Company. It is a pale, festive golden ale created in the English IPA style, with a particularly heavy dosing of hops. In fact, for every barrel brewed, there are nearly three pounds of hops used! All of the beers in the elf series are biggish brews. In addition to Bad Elf, there's Very Bad Elf (a strong, or, 'double' pale ale), Seriously Bad Elf (an English Strong Ale) and Criminally Bad Elf (a Barleywine). The labels all feature elves that stray from the cute, Santa's-little-helper-style image and look more like goblins whose depicted actions range from bawdy to darned near sinister. Of note is the fact that the label for Very Bad Elf caused quite an uproar in early fall of last year. In fact, it triggered a constitutional battle royale when state officials in Connecticut determined that the label violated laws that prohibit marketing of alcohol to children. The issue? The label features a mean-looking elf (same fellow shown on the Bad Elf label) firing Christmas ornaments via slingshot at an airborne Santa Claus as he flies his reindeer-driven sleigh off in the distance. The depiction of Santa Claus (who is barely discernable on the label—as shown here:) is what CT officials felt would entice children to buy the beer. We don't know about your local liquor store, but the ones we frequent tend to be pretty good about not selling to kids of the age to still eagerly await Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve.

It was serious enough for the ACLU to step in. As attorney Annette Lamoreaux stated: "not only does it violate Shelton's free speech rights", she said, "but protecting Santa Claus is a violation of the Constitution's establishment clause, which prohibits government endorsement or disapproval of religion."

OK, maybe that's going a little bit far, linking Santa to religion? After all, doesn't South Park tell us that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ are mortal enemies? Forgive the digression… Anyway, in November of 2005, the state Department of Consumer Protection dropped their case against the child-luring evil in this beer's label, stating that "although state regulations bar alcohol advertising with images that might entice children, including images associated with Santa Claus, the regulations do not apply to beer labels. Game on Connecticut. Game on…

So what is Bad Elf all about? It's a deep-straw hued, slightly hazy brew that presents an ample, cottony head. On the nose, expect lemon-like notes and zesty hoppiness. This is a distinctively English IPA—notice the differences between this any domestic IPAs you've tried; the hoppy characteristics are less citrusy and present more of an herbal earthiness. But this brew has its own distinct flavor profile, including an unexpected champagne-like aroma and flavor. It begins on the palate with a traditional English hop quality, showcasing lemony & zesty floral hops, with malts quickly coming into play as they present breaddy, grainy notes. Look for a floral finish with champagne-like notes and a firm, albeit late breaking dryness. Great with oysters, heavily spritzed with lemon, or sweet saffron rice spiced with curry chicken or beef.
You'll find our featured brewery about 30 miles west of downtown London. The Ridgeway Brewing Company stands as a proud Phoenix that has risen from the ashes of the revered Brakspear Brewery. Sometimes there's just no sense to life… such is the sentiment many craft beer drinkers—UK citizens and others—felt when they heard that this venerable establishment, where the most famous and perhaps best Bitter in England had been made for centuries, was being sold off to make room for an upscale hotel. The year was 2002, and for an establishment that had been in operation since 1779, the situation was a real heartbreaker. Thankfully, the master brewer at Brakspear was determined not to let his craft come to an end. Peter Scholey set out on his own, setting up shop as the Ridgeway Brewing Company, not far from the site of the original brewery. The Ridgeway Brewery is named for the ancient road—passable now only on foot—that meanders through the southwest of England. The now patchy stone surface of the Ridgeway was laid by Britain's oldest inhabitants, the Druids, thousands of years before the Romans set down their own routes through the region. It is the oldest road in the British Isles and Europe. It runs for nearly 100 miles, passing Stonehenge as well as Peter Scholey's relatively modern home. It would seem the name represents Scholey's intent to keep British history alive and well as he connects old-world brewing with modern brewmaster's innovation.
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Unmatched Variety by style, brewery & country

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